Monday, June 04, 2007

BEA!

Well, I hit BEA on Friday, and I lived to tell about it. (Though barely.)

For those of you who don't know about Book Expo America, it's a huge, HUGE, 3-day convention in which all the publishers gather to show off and pitch their new and upcoming books. And when I say huge, I mean huge. (TWSS - a little shout-out to The Office fans. Hee!) It was so packed that my taxi driver wouldn't even pull up to the convention center, so I had to walk seven blocks to the entrance, and since it was a lovely 90 degrees on Friday, I arrived in less than fresh fashion.

Anyhoo, I checked in (no easy feat, amidst the chaos), and proceeded upstairs to meet my publicist, agent and marketing manager, and immediately got lost/dizzy in the sea of booths, people and publishers. Think: a football field filled with booths and posters all about books. I mean, this place is enormous. I walked through the Grand Central (formerly Warner) area and ran into an old editor friend of mine. I was still profusely sweating - seriously! - I was using a flyer as a fan - and completely discombobulated (which, incidentally, is one of my favorite words), when I noticed the time, and had to dash to meet my peeps because...drum roll...I was about to be late to my autographing session.

So, another editor whom I know dashed by, and said, "They're waiting for you!," so I ran over, they nabbed me, and we proceeded to an entirely different floor (yes, this place was HUGE, I tell you), where we dipped behind some curtains (think: Wizard of Oz), got some water and trail mix (seriously: like they're trying to ensure that you have energy to make it through your session), and then were called up to our post. I proceeded to frantically sign books for the next 30 mins, which doesn't sound like a lot of time, but trust my cramping hand, was a lot of time. It was pretty cool actually - I was right next to the gals who wrote The Nanny Diaries, and just a few posts down from (gasp!) Jodi Picoult, whom I revere.

When my time was up, they cordoned off my area, and I got booted for the next author. I wandered around and looked for some children's galleys for my son (but came up empty), and then had to meet my agent on the top floor. (Is anyone still even reading at this point? See? You're tired, just like I was starting to get at this point in the convention.) Shortly after we met up, I found myself two feet away from the amazing Ms. Picoult, so I introduced myself (dying!), and thanked her so much for graciously answering my email (within an hour, even!) last summer, when I blindly wrote her to ask her for a blurb. (She was about to leave for a tour, so ever-so-politely declined.) She was lovely and smiley and warm, despite the fact that I was probably frothing at the mouth, and she was most likely more exhausted than I was. (Because, obviously, she had a gazillion more people to meet than I did.)

Anyhoo, that was the highlight. From there, I met all sorts of other industry peeps, including some of my agent's agent friends, who were totally cool and normal. Which I found so hilarious. Because when you're querying agents, you figure that they're up in their thrones, totally la-dee-da and scary and intimidating and all of that, but here these wonderful gals were - completely normal and chatty and totally could-be-my-friend sorts of people. So I had a little "aha" moment that I thought I could pass on to you guys. Agents: they're just like us!

So...by 2:30, I could barely form an intelligible sentence (I'm not even kidding - my editor friend whom I saw at the beginning of the day saw me again and was like, "You're fried,"), and was also so ravenous I almost entertained eating the scary food options, but alas, opted to head home. Of course, it would be nice to end this story there, but NOOOOO....I couldn't get a friggin' cab, so ended up walking about 13 blocks in the now nearly-deathly heat, until some kind cabbie finally took mercy on me and whipped me uptown to my favorite Cosi, where I proceeded to purchase sustenance and return to my apartment to plop on my bed and watch The Starter Wife, which I'd taped the night before. (Wow, that's a hell of a long sentence.)

Later, when I recovered, I realized that I had a lot of fun, but also hoped that this helped spread the word about TDLF. Because, I have to admit, when you see HOW MANY books are out there, all vying for a piece of attention and press and love, it's pretty scary. I mean, what can you do to ensure your book's success? I'm not really sure.

So, that was BEA. Anyone out there also attend? Thoughts? And who caught The Starter Wife? I'm sort of digging Debra Messing all over again!

15 comments:

Sara Hantz said...

Wow, Allison. I hope to get there one day. It's sounds an amazing day.

Jen Miller said...

I was at BEA on Friday and Saturday, and I'm STILL tired!

Patti said...

thanks for the visual! i look forward to my turn there...hopefully sooner than later.

Trish Ryan said...

It sounds like fun - thanks for the candid inside scoop :) Meeting Jodi Picoult must have been cool, but I can totally see how spending a few hours in such a crush of humanity would leave one longing for bed!

Jenny Rough said...

Ha ha. I was there last year and it is huge and overwhemling. Glad you survived.

Larramie said...

Gee, Allison, all you needed was a video cam and this post would have been "genius!" Nevertheless, you captured the sights so well that I felt lost in a maze of books with you.

Thanks for sharing the fun.

Gretchen Roberts said...

I feel a little sick after reading this post, like I need to hole up for awhile (which I'm already doing, actually!). Thanks for the inside look. After I read your post I visited Jodi Picoult's web site, and what cracked me up was reading her FAQs. What's the worst book you've read recently? She says, "The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks." HA!

Hope you get lots of sales from BEA, Allison.

bookbabie said...

Sounds like a fun, tiring time, can't wait to read your book, just ordered it:)

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Thank you, bookbabie!

Bethany said...

I'll get to go someday! And I can't wait... exhaustion, heat, crowds aside. :-) Glad your first experience was at least fun, I mean, how can you not be excited to attend!

Sue said...

I'm so jealous of these BEA stories. Maybe I need to write a book?

My son, of all people, loved The Starter Wife.

Oh, and I loved your essay in Fitness. I read it yesterday on the treadmill, and it was lovely.

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Thanks, Sue! I haven't seen it, so I'm so jealous that you have! I'm heading out to find it now.

Manic Mom said...

I used to work in trade show management and I so know what you felt like! Think Vegas for 10 straight days in a convention center at a Jewelry Expo, and the lighting they need to showcase their wares---HOT!

Did you by any chance meet my agent, Maura Teitelbaum?

And did you take home any ARCs? How did you carry them all 13 blocks!!!

Manic Mom said...

Ooh, I just realized it sounds like I totally name-dropped in my comment!

Allison Winn Scotch said...

MM - Nope, didn't meet her. I chose galleys selectively because I knew that they'd just sit on my shelf, and we're also moving in a month or so, so didn't want to deal. So I got, like, 5-6 books, which, of course, I haven't touched because I have so many to-reads already! And trust me, my back was hurting by the end of the day!